Auditory localisation : contributions of sound location and semantic spatial cues

Yao, Norikazu (2007) Auditory localisation : contributions of sound location and semantic spatial cues. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


In open skill sports and other tasks, decision-making can be as important as physical performance. Whereas many studies have investigated visual perception there is little research on auditory perception as one aspect of decision making. Auditory localisation studies have almost exclusively focussed on underlying processes, such as interaural time difference and interaural level difference. It is not known, however, whether semantic spatial information contained in the sound is actually used, and whether it assists pure auditory localisation. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect on auditory localisation of spatial semantic information. In Experiment One, this was explored by measuring whole body orientation to the words &quotLeft", &quotRight", &quotBack", &quotFront" and &quotYes", as well as a tone, each presented from left right, front and back locations. Experiment Two explored the effect of the four spatial semantic words presented either from their matching locations, or from a position rotated 20 degrees anticlockwise. In both experiments there were two conditions, with subjects required to face the position indicated by the sound location, or the meaning of the word. Movements of the head were recorded in three dimensions with a Polhemus Fastrak system, and were analysed with a custom program. Ten young adult volunteers participated in each experiment. Reaction time, movement time, initial rotation direction, rotation direction at peak velocity, and the accuracy of the final position were the dependent measures. The results confirmed previous reports of confusions between front and back locations, that is, errors about the interaural axis. Unlike previous studies, many more back-to-front than front-toback errors was made. The experiments provided some evidence for a spatial Stroop interference effect, that is, an effect on performance of conflicting information provided by the irrelevant dimension of the stimulus, but only for reaction time and initial movement direction, and only in the Word condition. The results are interpreted using a model of the processes needed to respond to the stimulus and produce an orienting movement. They suggest that there is an asymmetric interference effect in which auditory localisation can interfere with localisation based on semantic content of words, but not the reverse. In addition, final accuracy was unaffected by any interference, suggesting that these effects are restricted to the initial stages of response selection.

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ID Code: 16504
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Worringham, Charles & Cuddihy, Thomas
Keywords: auditory localization, spatial Stroop effect, stimulus response compatibility, semantic processing, information processing, response selection, reaction time, orienting
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Department: Faculty of Health
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Norikazu Yao
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:04
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:48

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